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Cat is knocking stuff off the counter on purpose

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I have a foster cat, James, who is a bit of a mischievous little booger. He's always up to something and for the most part I think he's just pretty amusing but lately he's started a new habit that can really become a problem, especially when he gets adopted. He likes to hang out on the kitchen counters and the table and lately he's started to push things off the counter onto the floor. At first I thought he was knocking stuff down by accident but then I saw that he actually takes his paw and pushes stuff down. Yesterday he knocked a glass bowl down. Fortunately it didn't break but it could have. All sorts of things come flying across the room when James is at it. I have to be careful to not keep anything breakable on the counter that he can knock down and to me it's not that big of a deal. It may be to someone else though and if he does this in another home he may just end up being returned so I really want to nip this in the bud now. But I have no idea how to get him to stop doing it. I could really use some suggestions. I don't want to stop him from being on the counters all together because he really has a need to be high up and I do give the cats treats on the counters because of the dogs.

I'm open for any suggestions.

post #2 of 10

My cat, King Arthur, does this, too... I think it's hilarious!!  Anything on his space or near him, he knocks off to the floor... Check out the video..


You could try a calm but serious "No".  But you probably already have.  Some people use water squirters.  I don't.  I think they are unneccessary and create only more mess.  Some people will smack a newspaper on a hard surface.  Again, I don't do this either.  I wish I had more suggestions but I am not very good at disciplining my cats.

post #3 of 10

My only suggestion would be to put away anything that he could break. Knocking things off of tables and counters is a super fun game for cats, and it's perfectly normal behavior. If his knocking things down like that is a problem for a potential adopter, they should maybe consider not getting a cat in the first place.

post #4 of 10

if these items are for display purposes, there's strong double sided tapes that's used for earthquakes. I use it for my vases that's on top of my cupboards. My cat hasn't been able to knock it down.

post #5 of 10

You won't like my answer.....I have a 14 year old kitty that has done this all his life. In fact, it's how he broke his nose. My sister found him on the street and a potential adopter took him home. That night, he starting knocking things down so they put him in the bathroom, where he proceeded to knock everything down in there so they put him in his carrier and he spent the rest of the night rubbing his nose against the metal gate until he bloodied and broke it. 


Any time Riley wants something, he pushes things down. If he wants me up, he pushes things down. If he is irritated, he pushes things down. You get the picture. And the unfortunate thing is that he is a highly irritable cat. laughing02.gif

​I love this story of Riley and my DH. One day he was putting something together and he put the screws on the counter and while he was working, Riley walked over and pushed them off.  DH gathered them all back up and put them back on the counter and Riley promptly knocked them off again. This happened a couple of times, each time DH getting more and more irritated. Finally, DH picked up the screws and yelled at Riley. I will never forget it, Riley, this little 9 pound cat looked at him straight in the eye and screamed right back at DH. His food bowl was empty. DH put the screws on the floor and filled the cat bowl and Riley left him alone. 


We have nothing sitting around on end tables or night stands. I can't even have an alarm clock because he will knock it down. 


I know what we did wrong, we responded to him whenever he did it so it just reinforced the behavior, but it is REALLY hard not to respond to it. My advice would be to make sure you are ignoring the behavior when you see it and ensure this kitty goes to a cat lovers home. 


I have a very high tolerance to kitty antics, however, even I get put out by this one. He has destroyed more cat bowls than I care to count. And now that he is a senior in declining health, he is even more demanding. He used to give us a warning by coming to cry at us when he wanted something and then slowly pushing things to the edge, now however, there is no warning, you just hear things hitting the floor to know he wants something. It can be tedious. 


Good luck. Hopefully someone on here has been able to break this habit and can be of more help than me. 

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much for the responses. Like all of you I don't think this is a big deal either. It's just one of those things cats do. I just fear that others may not view it that way. James is going to have to go to a family that is used to cats and have a sense of humor. He can be a bit naughty at times. He can open cabinet doors and drawers and he likes to take a nap in the kitchen cabinets and our dresser drawers. He sometimes also likes to help himself to a snack. I just think these things are pretty cute and funny but not everyone sees it that way. Now with him knocking everything down it my be too much. I guess I'm just afraid that it will hurt his chances of having a forever home. Unfortunately some people don't have a sense of humor and don't want a pet that requires work (as in picking stuff off the floor, getting the clothes in your dresser full of fur, etc.) I wish all adopters were true cat people.

post #7 of 10

Can I commiserate with you? Mine knocked the salt crock off the counter and broke the handle on the lid and left salt all over the kitchen floor. They also broke one of my juice glasses. My fault for leaving the glass on the kitchen island, don't know what I was thinking. The salt was next to the stove though, and they had to work to get it to the floor.

crafty little buggers.

post #8 of 10

I have a big oak entertainment center that I used to keep picture frames, glass potpourri dishes, etc. on, until Holland discovered the Great Game of Knocking Things Down. laughing02.gif At the suggestion of someone on this site, I cleared out one of the compartments and put toys up there for her to knock down to her heart's content. I hope James finds a family who has a soft spot for a mischievous kitty... I know I do! heartpump.gif









post #9 of 10
I had a cat by the name of Max who loved to knock things off the counters. When things hit the floor, the dogs ate them. We called this phenomena the "Max Factor". He taught me to cat proof things around my house and I'm not sure that I can live any other way now.

One thing to consider about your kitchen - if there is room in there, get a cat tree a little bit taller than the counter to fulfill their need to be in high places. You can start redirecting him to the cat tree, unless you are specifically engaging him in treats on the counter. I too dole out food on the counters, but I have a very specific spot on my counter where they are allowed to go and scolded when they wander elsewhere.

If you are worried about behavior problems after he is adopted, perhaps change where you feed treats to a bathroom counter? Most people don't object to a cat going on that counter, where they would object to a cat on a kitchen counter. That, and a cat condo in the kitchen can draw him away from the kitchen counter.
post #10 of 10
Riley does this too. We refer to it as his "gravity experiments" laughing02.gif

I just don't put breakables where he can get to them.
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